Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 07-23-09, 08:46 AM   #1
DX Rider
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
DX Rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Bikes:
Posts: 535
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
How do you handle approaching snow plows.

I was just curious how other people approach the situation.

My most direct and safiest route on the commute home is down a state highway, during a snowstorm the side roads are far more dangerous. On the few occasions that I've biked home during a heavy snow storm, I've had a problem with encountering snow plows. Not just some townie in a pickup truck either, because it is a state route I usually encounter the big industrial snow plows. Sometimes there are two working in tandem.

What can make the situation really hair raising is that with heavy snow comes heavy cloud cover, so even in the middle of the day there is a really grayish, flat light. And, the visibility may be further obscured by falling snow. Any blinkie that would normally be visible 600 feet away is only visible from about 60 feet in those conditions.

I usually just switch sides and ride on the wrong side until the plow(s) pass(es). There usually isn't many cars on the road, so crisscrossing isn't the hazard it normally would be.

I only did that for one season though, I don't think my heart could take the hair raising excitement of ducking snow plows for longer than that. Now if it's snowing too heavily, I just stay at the hotel next to where I work. My employer pays for the room if I choose to stay over, which is a nice perk.
DX Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-09, 11:04 AM   #2
Foofy
Ha ha HA! Me likey bikey!
 
Foofy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Bikes: Trek 7.2 FX
Posts: 311
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
"Now if it's snowing too heavily, I just stay at the hotel next to where I work. My employer pays for the room if I choose to stay over, which is a nice perk."

Wow, awesome employer. =)
Foofy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-09, 12:54 PM   #3
CastIron
Sensible shoes.
 
CastIron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: St. Paul,MN
Bikes: A few.
Posts: 8,799
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Get the hell out of the way and then follow at a reasonable distance. IME the gov't plows handle this like well seasoned pros. The half stoned private contractors paid by the job are another matter.
__________________
Mike
Quote:
Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
It looks silly when you have quotes from other forum members in your signature. Nobody on this forum is that funny.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
Why am I in your signature.
CastIron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-09, 02:13 PM   #4
DX Rider
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
DX Rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Bikes:
Posts: 535
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foofy View Post
"Now if it's snowing too heavily, I just stay at the hotel next to where I work. My employer pays for the room if I choose to stay over, which is a nice perk."

Wow, awesome employer. =)
Yeah it's a good deal.
DX Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-09, 06:16 PM   #5
Jim from Boston
Senior Member
 
Jim from Boston's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 4,793
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DX Rider View Post
I was just curious how other people approach the situation.

My most direct and safiest route on the commute home is down a state highway, during a snowstorm the side roads are far more dangerous. On the few occasions that I've biked home during a heavy snow storm, I've had a problem with encountering snow plows. Not just some townie in a pickup truck either, because it is a state route I usually encounter the big industrial snow plows. Sometimes there are two working in tandem...
Hi DX,

I know this has been a lousy summer, but why are you worried about winter right now? One of the best single posts I have read about winter riding was by Buzzman of Newton and elsewhere:

http://www.bikeforums.net/newreply.p...eply&p=8128373

In particular he made me especially aware of snowplows as a unique danger (see items #'s 4 and 5):

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
I was thinking of starting a similar thread so I'm glad to see someone else is pondering this issue as well.

It's an issue that I feel gets right to the heart of many advocacy and safety issues and our "right to the road".

I have been riding a bike for transportation purposes in New England winters for almost 40 years now. A few things I've observed during that time:

#1) A bicycle can be an excellent means of transportation in the winter, even in relatively extreme conditions if the cyclist is well prepared and aware of the limitations and liabilities of winter riding.

#2) Bicyclists are a small percentage of vehicles on the road in mid-summer, maybe 2% at maximum. Meaning 98% of the population has chosen to drive a motorized vehicle, usually a car. In the winter bicyclists are an even smaller percentage. A really small percentage of vehicles on the road in the winter are bicycles, perhaps 0.0002% of the vehicles will be bicycles. That means more than 99% of people have chosen another means of transport- usually the automobile.

#3) The number of people who will think you are "crazy" for riding to work mid-winter will be much larger than those that roll their eyes when you told them you just rode 100 miles to the company picnic mid-summer. Many of those people will also be "bicyclists" themselves. What this means is that you will have few allies and very few people who understand why you insist on riding a bike in the winter. It is an uphill battle and one that may not be worth engaging in with most people.

#4) In really bad conditions the only motorized vehicles on the road will be snowplows, emergency vehicles and people in cars who are too stupid to stay home. That means that the bicyclist must be prepared to take evasive maneuvers and ride with extreme caution when in the proximity of any motorized vehicle during the winter.

#5) Snowplow drivers are super dangerous. Don't mess with them. They have often been driving the plow in horrible conditions without sleep for 24-48 hours and are soused in coffee and possibly worse and they may not be able to discern whether your reflectorized vest and blinkie is an alien spacecraft landing or the beginning of a migraine headache but the last thing they'll expect it to be is a bicyclist.


#6) Take the lane and be visible. Drivers often hop into their car after having scraped a small 4" diameter circle in the ice on their windshield and soon the interior of their car windows are fogged to such a degree to turn all drivers into Mr. Magoo. But be prepared to give way when necessary or to take alternatives that will not put you in the way of too many cars. A plowed MUP can be a healthy alternative to the road.

#7) Mid-winter, IMO, is not the time to politicize your bike riding. Take the lane as a necessity but a snow storm is not the time to assert your right to the road in any self-righteous fashion or in a way that can be perceived as such. See point #2- YOU WILL HAVE FEW ALLIES! This is a fact of life, a reality. Most people think you're nuts to be out in that weather- even other cyclists. If the bike lane isn't plowed, if the MUP isn't plowed you're entitled to being ticked off about it but be realistic most town/city/state budgets are cash strapped and special plowing for the .0002% of vehicles during a snow emergency may not be a priority right now and that means being prepared to ride in crap. My commute to and from work can turn into something more akin to a challenging MTB ride than a pleasant road ride. Don't expect a smooth ride. Sorry but no one really feels they owe that to those of us who bike ride in these conditions.

#8) Outfit your bike for winter riding. You have to be an extremely skilled rider to get through a New England winter on a fixed gear with 23 mm slicks. If you're a messenger and only riding downtown on well traveled streets you might be able to get by but if you're commuting 10 miles out of the city you'll encounter roads and conditions that will be challenging to say the least. Have a bike just for winter riding or modify the bike you have. Having a poorly equipped bike in the winter is the equivalent to the jerk in the car driving on bald tires, old windshield wipers and no defroster.

#9) The reality is that people driving their cars are far more dangerous to both themselves and others on the road than a cyclist is in winter conditions. Someone just slid off the road the other day, across the bike path and into the Charles River in their car and died. My sense is that some people have no business being in cars in those conditions bikes actually do fine.

#10) Winter cyclists are definitely marching to the beat of a different drummer.
Jim from Boston is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-09, 07:44 PM   #6
mikewille
Frame Catastrophizer
 
mikewille's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Suburban Chicago
Bikes: Surly Instigator
Posts: 450
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I get the hell out of the way, up over curbs and snowbanks into frontyards or sidewalks until the plow has passed.
Sometimes the "up and over snowbank" part can be more accurately described as "getting stuck in" or "somersaulting into." Still beats getting hit by a plow.
mikewille is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-09, 12:48 PM   #7
xtrajack
xtrajack
 
xtrajack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Maine
Bikes: Kona fire mountain/xtracycle,Univega landrover fs,Nishiki custom sport Ross professional super gran tour Schwinn Mesa (future Xtracycle donor bike)
Posts: 2,058
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I called the town maintenance garage to find out what I should do. They told me that I should go on the other side of the road until the plow has passed by. Which pretty much became a moot point,as The Boss Lady (AKA the wife) didn't want me riding when it was actually snowing.
xtrajack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-09, 12:22 PM   #8
bent-not-broken
back in the saddle
 
bent-not-broken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central WI
Bikes: Raleigh Olympian, Trek 400, 500, 1500, 6700, Madone 6.9, Sekai 2400, Schwinn Passage, KOM, Super Letour, Nishiki Sport, Vision R45, Bike E, Volae Team
Posts: 628
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewille View Post
i get the hell out of the way, up over curbs and snowbanks into frontyards or sidewalks until the plow has passed.
Sometimes the "up and over snowbank" part can be more accurately described as "getting stuck in" or "somersaulting into." still beats getting hit by a plow.
+1
bent-not-broken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-09, 02:55 PM   #9
LarDasse74
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Grid Reference, SK
Bikes: I never learned to ride a bike. It is my deepest shame.
Posts: 3,769
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There are times when I know it is better to stay off the road... ice storms, blizzards, -50 degrees come to mind, but others will have their own criteria for safe cycling.

My advice is: be ultra vigilant, get studded tires, have multiple lights and multiple reflectors, and wear clothing with reflective patches. And use a mirror. Be ready to quickly dive off the bike if necessary. And if you are ever in doubt, immediately get the hell off the road. Snow plows may not see you but you can sure=as=hell see them.

Sadly, as a bicyclist you are the most vulnerable road user, but also the most maneuverable and adaptable to different conditions. No matter how safe a Swedish made SUV with FInnish tires, a bicycle is still the only winter vehicle that can be pushed beside you on the sidewalk or in the ditch when the road is unsafe.
LarDasse74 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-09, 03:09 PM   #10
hairyman
cyclocommuter
 
hairyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Brunswick, ME
Bikes: L.L. Bean Evolution hybrid, Jazz Voltage rigid mtb
Posts: 195
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Either pull over far enough into a driveway on the right or pull over to the left side of the road.
hairyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:16 AM.